Is it important to manage an individual device very well, or the entire estate at a much higher level? The nature of management tools available at the moment means that currently we have to make a choice. I’m going to focus on the storage world, but from what I’ve seen the problem affects most disciplines in IT. The problem …
How'd you sneak it past ElReg's editors? Inquiring minds want to know.
As a side-note, my systems and data have been coherent & available since Flag Day. It's not exactly rocket science.
Re: Nice advertisement.
Well, if you get some benefit from discovering a product that has worked well for me then I guess this was a useful "advert", otherwise I'm happy to hear your systems are running well! You'd be my ideal customer as it sounds like you are in a position whereby you can focus on developing new technology to answer new problems rather than having to fire fight the faults and issues that blight quite a number of your peers (including the ones are are doing rocket science).
Sorry, with NetApp's licensing models you missed the 'e' at the end...
However, as one of a team who suffer the management tools of Oracle (nee Sun) "open storage" we can agree that having documented and stable APIs would be a good thing. Oh, and actually listening to your technically-able customers? They know best, not what your marketing droids think!
Re: Filthy Lucre?
You spotted the pun in the name!
I've been a user of many different vendors and settled primarily (but not exclusively) on NetApp largely due to the management capabilities with the APIs. I'm not a big fan of most vendors management tools due to the reasons I mention in the article. They are product development and testing driven rather than customer driven and as you point out, they should be the ultimate guidance in how the tool should work.
My approach is usually to use the statements from the marketing "engineers" as a challenge but a sensible qualification and test process is a must.
The idea of customer focused development is what has pushed Lucr to attempt the project I described here so any feedback and requests would be really useful!
Re: Filthy Lucre?
Documented and stable APIs are great, but abstracting the complexity of them from customers is even better. Many vendors do this through PowerShell tool kits (your storage vendor does offer this, right?), but leave it up to you do write all the logic, create a web-based portal and figure out how to integrate it with other tools in your IT shop. A tool like WFA already provides much of this, but doesn't sacrifice flexibility. IT as a whole needs to adopt a similar model.
...OnCommand System Manager which I give out to new storage guys to help them get used to managing NetApp storage, the OnCommand family is a bit of a mess. Or at least it was last I checked it out about 8 months ago. Installed all the bits and pieces and wasn't very impressed with the inconsistent interfaces and jumping between applications. I promptly went back to SSH and scripts for most of my work.
NetApp is good at anything that is called Data OnTAP; all their other tools appear to have been chucked out the door with minimal testing or consideration for usability. They tend to be buggy, cumbersome, and feature-light, and support for them is usually wretched.
Contrast their management tools with what EMC provides--EMC CLI tools are good for tasks which require automation, but you can do virtually everything from the GUI that you can with the CLI. NetApp provides a rudimentary GUI, but their corporate philosophy seems essentially to be that graphical interfaces are for wimps, so they only grudgingly add useful features to their management tools.
As someone who has worked with multiple storage monitoring/management tools I disagree completely with you hoping other vendors follow NetApp's example with API, because they all suck. PERIOD. Always have, always will. Nobody wants to play well with others, everyone wants their own tool to be the best, and nobody wants agents. Every single time the other vendor releases new code your product from the other vendor will cease correct reporting.
So, you'll continue to have NetApp's issues with bad reporting, bad data, and a portfolio thrown together because they want to fill checkboxes. Netapp's product built on a platform designed to fill in the gaps in EMC's ECC so it's better with EMC. EMCs frankenstein of Prosphere and 3 other products they bought, Aptare's inability to stop tripping over themselves in their database, Symantec's joke, HP's disaster, and whichever lame product HDS is reselling.
There's just no money in it, so get used to hating it all.